Sarah Bethe Nelson, “Face The Waves” from the album Oh, Evolution
Released February 24, 2017 via Burger Records
In a span of over 25 minutes, four games sent major shockwaves to the NCAA Division One Men’s Basketball Selection Committee.
At the start of Saturday’s play, the bubble did not seem that large. But entering the dinner hours in the East, that bubble list has grown to at least four (4) more schools looking to earn their possible invite as potential at-large suitors with only 15 days to go until the draw is released to the world.
In Rhode Island, the Rams got a pair of players that gained double-doubles: Jared Terrell had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Hassan Martin chipped in with 17 points and grabbed a career-high 18 boards. Even more impressive a stat was Jarvis Garrett coming off the bench and earning all 12 of his points from the free-throw line. Both teams shot the same percentage (35 percent), but Rhode Island made 11 more charity attempts and that proved to be the difference in a convincing second half over VCU. The final score was 69-59, and that sets up a huge matchup with Dayton, who is currently the top seed in the Atlantic 10 Conference on Wednesday night. VCU is one game back in second place (23-6 overall, 13-3 in A-10 play), while Rhode Island (19-9, 11-5) is now tied with the Richmond Spiders for third place.
At Ann Arbor…it was Senior Day for Dan Dakich’s son and he watched from the bench as Michigan pounded Purdue on the glass as the Boilermakers forgot to bring their shooting eyes up north losing 82-70. Caleb Swanigan had another nice game from the field, scoring 18 points but he only ended up with five rebounds on the day.
For the Wolverines, it was a huge win to get them back in the bubble picture as they got a big effort from Moe Wagner (22 of his 24 points he scored in the first half) as he almost single-handedly overpowered Purdue’s mostly rock solid front line. Derrick Walton also had a nice game finishing up with 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Michigan as a team was also perfect from the free-throw line, hitting on all 11 of their attempts.
At Ames…Iowa State missed a bunch of free-throws towards the end of their game with Baylor, but somehow held on for a close-shave 72-69 victory. The game featured nine ties and 13 lead changes. Senior guard Deonte Burton was the difference as his cold-blooded three proved to be the difference with 1:17 to play. But Johnathan Motley, a late season bloomer to be listed as a Top 20 candidate for the annual John R. Wooden Award as Player of the Year had 27 points on 12 of 19 shooting and 11 rebounds. Baylor hosts West Virginia for second place in the Big 12 on Monday night.
Finally, in Miami…Grayson Allen sat out for Duke with an injured left ankle, but Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson did their best to keep the Blue Devils close each scoring 16 points. However, it was the heady play of Bruce Brown who made the upset possible finishing with an impressive stat line of 25 points on 11 of 18 from the floor to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists in a nice 55-50 Miami upset win over Duke. The win catapults the Hurricanes into a fourth-place tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as North Carolina clinched a tie for another regular season title earlier in the day.
For Duke, this was their second straight loss to a ranked team on the road. We will see if this damages their chances to earn at least a 2 seed come Selection Sunday. However, a pair of bigger school milestones await Coach K and one of his star players:
Amile Jefferson in the loss tied Andre Dawkins for 10th on the school’s all-time games played list at 142. If he plays on Tuesday which is a home game against Florida State, he will tie Danny Ferry, Quinn Cook, and Nolan Smith for seventh place all-time. Mike Kryzezewski needs only seven more wins to earn 1,000 all-time as Duke Head Coach.
The other startling stat on Senior Day for Miami was that only two seniors will be graduating in Devon Reed and Kamari Murphy. There are twice as many graduating team managers that were honored on Saturday than there were players.
Talk about continuity, it is all flowing like a calm breeze across the Atlantic Ocean.
Please enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope to be back again on Monday with another edition of Stock Up, Stock Down. Take care, everybody.